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The Wisdom of Mark Twain and the Value Proposition

 

 

 

 

By Robin Higgons

Mark Twain famously once wrote “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead”, and I am constantly reminded of this every time I write or review a Value Proposition. Most start life as a long, bloated attempt to capture all the benefits the company believes it has. The enthusiasm to capture all the good things is understandable, but usually results in the target readers losing the will to live before they are half way through.

There are three golden rules to a good Value Proposition – Brevity, Clarity, and Empathy. For Brevity, it should be less than 150 words. For Clarity, any knowledgeable lay-person should be able to read and get it immediately. Find a suitable outsider to test it on. And finally for Empathy, get inside the head of the reader. They have their own needs. Does your value proposition stop them in their tracks and make them think – that’s just what I need. Again, test it on an outsider who will be very challenging.

A good Value Proposition should ‘do what it says on the tin’ – tell the reader what value they will get from you. To get it right takes a lot of time. But then giving a sales or investment message that the target audience don’t understand will turn
them off, and severely damage the business. It is time well spent.

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The Wisdom of Mark Twain and the Value Proposition

 

 

 

 

By Robin Higgons

Mark Twain famously once wrote “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead”, and I am constantly reminded of this every time I write or review a Value Proposition. Most start life as a long, bloated attempt to capture all the benefits the company believes it has. The enthusiasm to capture all the good things is understandable, but usually results in the target readers losing the will to live before they are half way through.

There are three golden rules to a good Value Proposition – Brevity, Clarity, and Empathy. For Brevity, it should be less than 150 words. For Clarity, any knowledgeable lay-person should be able to read and get it immediately. Find a suitable outsider to test it on. And finally for Empathy, get inside the head of the reader. They have their own needs. Does your value proposition stop them in their tracks and make them think – that’s just what I need. Again, test it on an outsider who will be very challenging.

A good Value Proposition should ‘do what it says on the tin’ – tell the reader what value they will get from you. To get it right takes a lot of time. But then giving a sales or investment message that the target audience don’t understand will turn
them off, and severely damage the business. It is time well spent.